"Thousands have given birth alone, suffered loss alone": Calls to end maternity restrictions
Campaigners are calling for better maternity care in Ireland.
Campaigners are urging the Minister for Health, Stephen Donnelly to lift remaining maternity restrictions.
The #BetterMaternityCare campaigners issued a statement about the restrictions that are causing extreme distress.
Despite Minister Donnelly's claims, restrictions still remain in place in multiple hospitals.
"Minister Stephen Donnelly had also previously confirmed in August 2021 that the restrictions were no longer in place.
"Despite his announcement maternity hospitals and units continue to operate partner restrictions as well as wider visiting restrictions."
"The ongoing exclusion of partners from antenatal appointments and assessment units and the total ban on older siblings coming to visit their new brother/sister.
They said, "This is having a significant negative impact on families at what should be a joyous, happy time."
Campaigners are calling for change following the lifting of mandatory mask-wearing in hospitals.
"Campaigners are looking for a renewed focus on what is happening in maternity units."
The restrictions have since caused major distress for pregnant people in Ireland, especially for those who have suffered a miscarriage and baby loss.
"Thousands of people have laboured alone, given birth alone, suffered loss alone, and kept vigil at their sick baby's bedside, some of whom couldn't make it home alone.
"After much pressure and public outcry, restrictions were finally eased somewhat in line with evidence and infection control best practices.
"Unfortunately, most units still have some restrictions in place.
"People shouldn't have to jump through administrative hoops to make sure they have a hand to hold when they need it", said campaigner Emma Cross.
Campaigners stressed that placing restrictions in maternity hospitals only causes more harm than good.
"There is no justification for continuing to isolate women when accessing maternity services."
Caroline Cumming added, "I'm very disappointed that we are still calling for partner access in maternity care in 2023."
"We all appreciate that restrictions had a part to play at one point in keeping the service running smoothly and service users and staff safe, but that time has long since passed."
The campaigners have urged Minister Donnelly to "uphold his commitment to improving women's healthcare".
Campaigners said Minister Donnelly needs to listen to women and families.
"There is no evidence that retaining the restrictions has any benefit whatsoever."
Over 60,000 people have signed the petition for the removal of maternity restrictions that deny fathers and partners the right to attend maternity services with their pregnant partner.
You can find out more about the petition here.